I probably should have named this post – “Wine and Fox News“ because this little experiment quickly became a wine guzzling contest with myself.
I actually want to believe in the decency of the American people and that we have more that ties us together then divides us. I just gave myself the side eye as I tried to make myself believe that. I think all people want food and shelter for instance – but the similarities end there. A lion and gazelle both want those things, but after that – things diverge – and starkly. As a liberal, I kind of feel like a gazelle these days surrounded by lions in our government and a heard of them gaining ground on us from Middle America as well.
The 2016 election made me stop and think, maybe I do live in my happy liberal bubble. I’ve lived in Manhattan for over 8 years. Everyone I know is gainfully employed, most have college degrees. People are in a particular income bracket. Granted, I know people – some of my favorite – live in far flung and unreachable places like Pennsylvania where they have mountains and cows! But these Pennsylvanian’s even have savings and don’t work in steel mills (although I am sure that’s a lovely profession) – so maybe they are not downtrodden enough.
I suppose I have been slightly annoyed at the portrayal of “coastal elites” by the “liberal media.” Yes, I read, have a full set of teeth, have some disposable income, love Broadway shows, don’t muck about in a coal mine all day among other things – sue me. I can’t milk a cow. I can’t drive a tractor. I prefer wine to beer. However, I also can find the Pennsylvania Turnpike on a map and have an affection for the Waffle House. I am eclectic.
In my bubble, there are some gays and women in the group – various races. Some of the women would be defined as “nasty women” for sure. No one is overly religious, but most believe in some sort of higher being. The blacks I know, specifically, are not living horrible lives and aren’t in despair. I have to single out the blacks because our President did – and, of course, being a successful black, I was disturbed by his characterization. Some of the blacks I know, including myself, have even traveled internationally – it’s an amazing thing. The folks I know are generally happy and aren’t petrified about crime as if we’re real life extras in the show Gotham.
I imagine some would say that sounds elitist and unkind. It might be, but that’s my reality. Post-2016 election, we have heard more than I would care to about the reality of folks in Ohio and Wisconsin and Indiana, etc – so just stating mine. Unlike the Trump voter, I like my reality. I am not aggrieved and even while I am unhappy with the election result.
I don’t feel like anything was taken from me and I don’t think I need to take anything back either. I abhor the silliness of our President and the same old Republican policies he is advancing. But he won an election, there is nothing for me to take back. I don’t own this country or its trajectory. My black butt will need to vote again and hope that more people with my political view do too in 2018 and 2020- and as Ms. Clinton will attest to, especially in strategically important states.
So, yeah, I have trouble seeing the other side.
But in the spirit of seeing a different perspective, popping my own bubble, I thought let me turn on Fox News. I am guilty of going to my go to media sources. So I turned to Fox News, to find Bill O’Reilly, became ill, and had to end the experiment. No, I kid, but it was hard to watch him with my eyes receded in the back of my head. But, this seems to be a favorite channel of Middle America. Maybe this will help me understand, to get in touch. I did learn a few things.
5 things I learned:
1) Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor in Philadelphia, killed unborn babies – born alive at his clinic. Convicted of the murder of four babies, he reportedly killed thousands. There is a book about him – Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. Sounds awful and interesting. The book has a forward by Alan Robertson of Duck Dynasty – so there’s that. Book lost some points and credibility with me when I learned that. This extraordinary heinous person is also, of course, black.
A movie about Dr. Gosnell has been made, but a distributor cannot be found – which of course is a liberal conspiracy of some sort according to the author. We have no way of knowing if the movie is any good, but why quibble with a detail like that. One of the authors of the book, Ann McElhinney lamented and I quote, “everyone knows Michael Brown’s name and everyone knows Trayvon Martin’s name” – but people don’t know the name’s of the women who died from his botched abortions. Kind of a head scratcher for me, kind of offensive – but it is Fox News. Unfortunately, I had no way of reminding Mr. O’Reilly and Ms. McElhinney that Mr. Gosnell is in prison for his crimes, which is not the case for the murderers of Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin. Also, abortion and civil rights issues are different topics.
Yes, the justice part. JUSTICE. People want justice – whether that be for the victims of the awful abortion doctor or Trayvon Martin. When it comes to black men – justice just doesn’t seem to get served. We care a lot about unborn babies and not much for speaking, walking, fully formed people – especially if they are of color. That little fact is always trivialized, overlooked, and not understood by the other side but I digress. In conclusion, abortions are bad and what would amount to murder (killing born babies), it was implied, is happening everywhere – “worst than what happens in Europe” – whatever that means. As an aside, I know the Europeans are horrible socialists so it’s difficult for me to envision this exceptional nation doing anything worse than those folks. Again, I digress.
Check placed on my notepad, I processed the abortion lesson of the day.
2) I learned from some woman, whose name I couldn’t be bothered to remember between Malbec sips, that Democrats lost the election because of its focus on “racial politics.” That term has been bandied about lately (by bruised Democrats too) and sounds like a nice way to me of – don’t make white folks feel uncomfortable and clutch their pearls by talking about anyone who isn’t white and their issues and concerns.
3) I learned about “a crazy left wing woman” on a flight from Baltimore to Seattle who was caught on camera – raging against Trump and conservatives. Apparently, this is making news everywhere (haven’t seen it yet). So, we talked about that with glee. Bill O’Reilly has never seen this sort of behavior from a “far right person.” Somehow that then segued into commentary about the various women’s marches on Saturday and chalking them up to “crazy privileged white woman.” The 3 white men (Bill and the two panelists) couldn’t fathom what those women were upset about. I also learned that the “left” feels morally superior which is why they behave like this woman on this flight. I kind of shrugged in agreement when he said that. I am sure I have my moments. However, I have decorum and only shout awful things about conservatives in my head. I am not Kristen Wig in Bridesmaids stoned out of my mind. This woman seemed nuts and just happened to espouse liberal views. Apparently, that was a nuance these men were incapable of processing.
Liberals crazy, conservatives not – understood.
4) Bill O’Reilly read some letters from his viewers. I should have played a drinking game every time “media” was mentioned – definitely would be unable to go to work tomorrow.
We know, we know – liberal media bad.
5) Mr. O’Reilly closed by suggesting that Mel Gibson received an Oscar nomination for a movie I don’t care to see because Academy voters forgave him for making some anti-Semitic jokes. Some were said as if Mel spilled some milk. In the Christian tradition, he was forgiven, O’Reilly continued and has made a comeback.
Eh, what’s a little racism – all’s forgiven. Good for Mel! Now I don’t have any issue actually that Mel Gibson is nominated for an Oscar. Maybe on the merits, it was a good film. If I find his behavior objectionable, which I personally do, I don’t have to watch the film, or if I were a voter – probably would have picked another film – whatever. I didn’t understand why this was even a segment. Why the constant promotion of petty grievance? Why are we discussing this and not, say, the oil spill that took place in Canada today – at the same time the President signed an Executive Order in relation to Keystone pipeline, among other things – huh? As a side note, didn’t Mel beat on his girlfriend too – didn’t that come out in that anti-Semitic debacle? My forehead hurts. I have to stop assaulting myself.
Lesson Number Five, a few mean Jew jokes are acceptable.
Then the “Spin Free Zone” ended and Tucker Carlson came on and I threw my glass at the television and my field trip to Fox News land ended. Like, really? This is what we’re discussing? I felt like Alice – down the rabbit hole I went with Mr. O’Reilly to some scary places.
I have decided I like my bubble. Maybe you can no longer win by telling the truth about race for instance. Maybe I am out of touch and I am just fine with that.